8 Days’ Tibetan New Year (Losar & Monlam) Festival Tour
To Repkong (Tongren) and Labrang
Day01: --Arrive at Xining (Ziling) / Repkong (Tongren)
Arrive at Xining, the capital of Qinghai Province, known as Amdo in old days, a famous region for its beautiful mountainous grassland and the originating highland of two great rivers, the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers. On arrival at the airport; meet our native Tibetan guide and car or bus to have a scenic drive for about 3.5 hours through the beautiful Ma Chu valley (Yellow River valley) to Repkong (Tongren), a charming Tibetan town still with strong traditional old culture. Repkong is known to be the learning center for Tibetan Tangkha painting and all monks here have been well trained in the arts of painting and sculpting. The famous artists of this area are commissioned as far away as Lhasa and Shenyang in China, India, Burma and Mongolia to produce frescos and tangkhas for the most important monasteries. Besides, the New Year Festivals Losar in winter and the Shaman Festival in summer are unique and rear to see for visitors at home and abroad. For too long the region has been a far off place shrouded in mystery that only few people know the area instead of those popular tourists’ destinations. If arriving earlier, we can drive directly to Upper Wutun monastery (Sengeshong Yago), to see Masks Cham Dance and burning the devil things ceremony at the end of Cham which takes place around 6pm in the field near the monastery. Then check-in Repkong hotel.
Overnight Repkong hotel***
In the morning, we visit some of main monasteries in different villages including Longwu (Rongpo Gonchen) Monastery, an important and the local biggest monastery, built in 1301. It once was the political and administration center in Repkong area. Now it has 450 monks. Then to visit Gomar monastery built in 1741 and now it has 160 monks inhabited. This small but beautiful monastery is famous for its colorful 7-storey Astronomy Stupa (Dhekor Kalachakra). Afternoon we drive to Sengeshong Mago (Lower Wutun), a famous monk art school set up in 17th century. Now it has 120 monks, the youngest is 7 years old and all of them have a good training to be artists in this monastery. You can find their art works such as paintings and sculptures almost throughout Tibet. About 1 pm, we take part in the ceremony of a big Appliqué Tangkha Display (Khakhl Sham). All village people do prostration in front of big Tangkha and the women together sing carols dedicated to Buddha devotionally. Overnight Repkong hotel***
This morning we drive for 7Km to Guomar moneastry to join with hundreds of local village people celebrating the New Year ceremony of Butter Tea and Bread which were blessed in the monastery and offered from different tribes in this village. About 1 pm we will see a big ceremony of Displaying a big Tangkha (Sunning the Buddha). The whole procession is exiting. As this grand event happens only once a year, all the village people is eager to do prostration in front of big Tangkha of Buddha which is 40m long and 20m wide, at the beginning of the year to thank Buddha for the passed year and to pray for good things in the coming year. After this we may go to another village to see something different. Overnight Repkong hotel***
Drive 5Km to Sengeshong Mago (Lower Wutun) to enjoy a different Monlam celebration, Masks dance (Cham) by monk artists which is wonderful to see. The main theme of the performances describes all the Protector Deities how to kill the devil spirits that is made of barley flower in a triquetrous black box. You will see Monks burn the devil things at the end of Dance in the field near the monastery. When seeing Tukchuwa is burning, hundreds of village men light countless firecrackers together to celebrate and this spectacular and thrilling scene impact you with a strong confidence towards a promising New Year.
Overnight Repkong hotel***
Day05: --Tongren / Labrang
Drive 4 hours through a very nice valley to Labrang monastery. The valley looks like “Grand Canyon” when driving through a red mountainous valley. Then we travel across a beautiful pasture land where we can see yaks and sheep and we may visit Tibetan Nomadic family en-route. After lunch in Xiahe town, we have a guided tour to visit Labrang monastery, known as one of six great Gelukpa (Yellow hat sect) monasteries in Tibet, was founded in 1709, housing now 1000 monks. As Labrang and Kumbum (Ta’er Si) are important institution of higher learning in East-Tibet, during the time of New Year Festival, this holy place attracts thousands of Tibetan people for pilgrimage, among them a lot of nomads families coming from remote grassland.
A day will be free at leisure sightseeing strolling around Labrang to see many kinds of nomadic peoples and families who make special trip from their home towns to come here celebrating the great new year festival and prostrating around the Labrang, some of them do shopping or eating along the numerous shops and restaurants at sides of the street making this small city fantastic where you have an ideal photo opportunity for unique pictures in a life time memory. Overnight Labrang
Day07: --Labrang / Lanzhou
We see Sunning the Buddha; a large appliquéd Tangkha (30 by 40m) is displayed on the mountain slop opposite the monastery, which is larger and different than we see in Repkong. After lunch, we drive to Lanzhou for overnight. 4 star hotel in Lanzhou
Day08: – Lanzhou / Back Home
After breakfast, depending on your departure flight, you will be transferred to the airport to take your flight back home.